Transgender CSU students still protected despite possible Title IX changes

Leaked memo shows Trump administration’s plans to redefine gender


Will Coburn -The State Hornet

Flyer for the Nov. 10, #StillHere march

Will Coburn

California students will be protected from the proposed changes to Title IX, revealed in a leaked Trump administration memo that would define gender as decided at birth.

The New York Times reported the internal memo Oct. 21, after obtaining it from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The memo defines gender as “immutable biological traits identifiable by or before birth.”

According to the New York Times, this would prevent those who identify as transgender from being considered a protected class under Title IX at the federal level. Title IX is the law that prohibits any discrimination on account of sex in any federally funded school.

Deputy Title IX coordinator at Sac State Alison Morgan Nygard said that students will still be protected in California.

“Under CSU policy and California law, gender identity and gender expression are considered protected categories,” Nygard said.

CSU spokeswoman Elizabeth Chapin said in a written statement the CSU reaffirmed its commitment to maintaining an inclusive community. According to Chapin, the CSU will be a “strong participant” in any process by the Department of Education to implement new guidance on the definition of gender.

Because the changes are not officially proposed yet, both the chancellor’s office and Nygard said they are unable to directly comment on their contents.

Women’s Resource Center program coordinator Aisha Engle said she thinks that this was an attempt to politicize transgender people’s identities.

“We have students on our campus who are trying to do their midterms right now, and now they have to think about things putting their identity at risk,” Engle said. “They’re being told, ‘you can’t live your life, live your truth, be authentic, and we’re going to wrap you in laws.’”

Engle called for allies to help get involved in political actions like the #StillHere march Nov. 10 at the Lavender Library, a nonprofit archive and library that focuses on LGBT material in Sacramento, but also for more person to person action.

“Be supportive more, now than ever we need to check in,” Engle said, “Just ask — ‘is there anything I can do to support you?’”